What To Do When Uber Stiffs You


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Harry right here. I feel each driver has had their frustrations with Uber’s buyer help, however in terms of points over your pay, that’s when issues can get contentious.

I’ve skilled this myself quite a few occasions with assured pay and referral bonuses however in the present day, RSG senior contributor John Ince recounts his current expertise coping with buyer help over his hard-earned assured pay that by no means confirmed up.

If you’re employed on Uber hourly ensures, Power Driver Bonuses (PDBs) or attempt to acquire referral bonuses, likelihood is eventually you’re going to have some type of dispute with Uber over funds.  When this occurs, right here’s what I’ve discovered from coping with it first-hand.

Every driver has probably had issues with Uber customer service, but what do you do when Uber doesn't pay you what you're owed? John covers his saga here.

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Lesson Number 1:  Understand the Financial Context

Drivers now make less that one third they made per mile in 2014 in fares alone, which suggests increasingly drivers are staying offline. Uber’s chess transfer: supply ensures and energy driver bonuses with phrases hooked up that tether drivers to their jobs and supply the promise of larger pay.

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Lesson Number 2: Understand Bonuses and Guarantees are a Zero Sum Game for Uber

Unlike common fares the place each the driving force and Uber share revenue, with ensures and bonuses, it’s a zero sum recreation.  Simple math. But there should be sufficient drivers getting ensures to maintain drivers out on the street.

Lesson Number three:  Either Prepare Yourself for Battle or Forget it Right Away

Uber’s technique is struggle by attrition. You may get fortunate with a fast decision however don’t rely on it. Uber has the info. They know what proportion of ensures they really pay.  They know that X % of drivers will both miss out on the shortfall or instantly settle for Uber’s causes for denial.  Decide how essential that is to you.  If it’s necessary on both precept or quantity, then battle to the top.  If not, then let it go.

Lesson Number four:  Use Multiple Forms of Communication

Email is sweet as a result of you possibly can simply connect or ahead notes. Anecdotal proof on the message boards suggests that you simply’re more likely to get a faster response utilizing the smartphone app.  Uber’s telephone quantity is almost inconceivable to seek out and the assistance is sketchy there, so don’t get your hopes up on a telephone name.

Related Article: Top 9 Ways to Contact Uber

The handiest strategy is to go in individual at Uber driver facilities.  But that’s an enormous problem.  Because I discover writing my pure type, I opted completely for e-mail exchanges.  Sometime you get a reply inside minutes, typically it could actually take days, which results in the subsequent step.

Lesson Number 5:  Keep Communication Simple

Use brief sentences and get to the purpose instantly – ideally within the first sentence.  Uber help staffers have a brief consideration span.  Mention something complicated or conceptual and their mind freezes up. Include reference quantity and skip the diatribes.  It’s okay to personalize and even dramatize your plight.  Make it human and affordable.  Every at times you get an clever human on their aspect, so that you don’t need to miss that chance ought to it materialize.

Lesson Number 6:  If You Don’t Like a Response from One Person, Try Someone Else

I discovered this proper on the outset of my Uber driving days.  I used to be due a $500 signal on bonus, by way of a referral link from Harry. When I first inquired about how one can get the bonus, Uber’s companion help stated I wasn’t eligible for the bonus as a result of an excessive amount of time had lapsed from once I first contacted Uber.  That went forwards and backwards for a number of emails, every time with a denial. But I used to be nonetheless satisfied I used to be proper, so I went right down to Uber’s workplace at 70 Vermont Street in San Francisco and the lady behind the desk accepted the bonus on the spot.

Lesson Number 7:  Document Everything You Can

To hold my acceptance fee close to good, I watch my smartphone like a hawk once I’m on assure. Both Friday and Saturday, I used to be positive that I’d accepted all journey requests.   But one thing very unusual occurred simply earlier than I signed off about 2 am.  I had simply dropped off my final fare, and tapped to go offline.  That introduced the popup, Are you positive you need to go offline?  As I used to be tapping the, YesI’m positive button, a journey request flashed throughout my display. It was seen just for milliseconds, disappearing too quick to simply accept.  Concerned about this, I emailed Uber help as quickly as I obtained residence.

Thanks for getting again to me. I made completely positive that I accepted all experience requests between 5 PM Friday, July 15 and Saturday at 2 am. in order that I might qualify for the hourly assure supply in my space. Please confirm that I did settle for all of the experience requests that got here to me between 5 PM Friday, July 15 and Saturday at 2 am.

Within ten minutes I received a reply from Uber, the one I needed to listen to.

Hi John,

No worries. Upon checking once more your particulars, I can affirm that you’ve accepted all rides that come into you inside the time-frame that you’ve talked about. Your acceptance price for this time-frame is 100%. I hope that I used to be capable of make clear you on this. Please let me know in case you have another questions. Thank you.

Now I had documentary proof.  Now in the event that they deny me, two totally different sources inside Uber’s database could have provide you with totally different figures for my acceptance price.  Insert your personal conspiracy principle right here.

Lesson Number eight: Research Your Situation

Uber People, The Uber Driver Sub-Reddit and Facebook Groups all have a search field.  I typed in acceptance fee and ensures.  Suddenly I noticed that what occurred to me was occurring to a whole lot of others. The on-line message boards and Facebook teams are filled with theories about Uber’s “phantom request.” Here’s a consultant publish:

Last Friday, I met my assure between 7 to 9 A.M., however once I checked out my up to date earnings the next Tuesday Uber didn’t apply my assure for that day.  

After many emails, by which they in fact gave me the traditional run round, they lastly advised me I didn’t qualify as a result of my acceptance score was a 78%. However, I used to be constructive I didn’t miss a single request. I lastly referred to as and spoke with help … what the ladies informed me was infuriating.  Uber’s telephone rep, after wanting into my rides and that day’s acceptance score, proceeded to inform me that typically “driver’s phones can have issues with their data” and people experience requests might bounce again earlier than they even are acquired by the driving force and are directed to a different driver’s telephone. 

This signifies that these experience requests are being despatched to our telephones, BUT they’re not popping up on our display AND Uber is counting them in the direction of are acceptance scores. Basically, they’re penalizing us for one thing that’s out of our management, and never our fault.

Lesson Number 9:  Accept the Reality and Deal With It

The following Tuesday when the pay assertion got here, I had been denied all 5 ensures for the week.  The weekend ensures have been denied due to what they stated was acceptance charges of 89% and 84%.  Weekdays my ensures have been denied on the idea of a screwy interpretation of the “one trip per hour” rule.

During the week, I drove the night rush hour and obtained one journey request and completion in a bit over an hour on-line. Here’s how they determine it: since I used to be on-line for 62 minutes and my journeys per hour was .98, simply in need of the 1.00 journey per hour rule – assure denied.  Similarly the opposite two days, I used to be 87% and 78%.  What’s actually unusual about that is that you’d assume Uber would need to incentivize drivers to remain on-line longer, and provides credit score for one hour assure for those who’re on-line no less than an hour.  Not so.  Had I logged offline minutes earlier, I might have certified. Very unusual.

Lesson Number 10:  Enjoy the Fight

My first response to those denials was brief and to the purpose. I hooked up Uber help’s affirmation e mail of my 100% acceptance fee by Uber help. They continued to disclaim and conveniently prevented point out of their very own 100% determine. The complete at stake is about $130, which for me is a full night time’s driving.

More necessary there was the precept.  I’d earned it enjoying by the principles they established. Moreover,  I’d altered my driving technique round these guidelines.  When I had journeys into San Francisco, I ended the experience early and turned proper round empty again to Marin as a result of once more 2/three of the journeys should start in Marin.  On two different events I obtained pings from outdoors the qualify area, however accepted and accomplished each, utilizing up my allotment of journeys outdoors the QR.

Lesson Number 11:  Keep After Them

How lengthy does it take to resend an e mail (Boomerang is a superb device for establishing reminders)?  Maybe a couple of seconds. I spiced up my subsequent letters with stronger phrases. Even in order that they stored denying – lastly one got here with an enormous banner saying RESOLVED throughout the highest. For most drivers, that is the place they provide up.  But no, sorry this isn’t resolved.   

Lesson Number 12: There is a Time to Bring Out the Big Guns 

I don’t threaten to sue until I imply it. So I went out for an extended bike journey and thought of how a lot of an inconvenience I used to be prepared to endure in a small claims lawsuit. What have been the potential rewards?   There’s solely $130 at stake, however I might sue for punitive damages of as much as a complete of $10,000.  Punitive damages are troublesome to approve in small claims until there’s good cause to punish the defendant for a sample of repeated violations.  I would wish clear proof that Uber was making a standard follow of what they did to me.  From my Web analysis, that appeared like an doable proposition.  But would the decide settle for the phrase of others who posted on the Internet? I’m not a lawyer.  That’s the danger.

There have been good causes to proceed, however would I be prepared to go courtroom?  I feel so. What about this phantom request phenomenon? Is there any clear proof that ghosts are inhabiting Uber’s system?  Does Uber find out about ghost requests? Is Uber truly tampering with acceptance fee statistics? Can it’s proved? Because it occurs so quick it’s almost unattainable to doc.  Without onerous proof, it’s unattainable to mount a category motion go well with. Also, few legal professionals would waste their time on this.  But in small claims courtroom you symbolize your self, and may put together your personal case.  Small claims courtroom it’s.  So I ship off the e-mail with the heading: Pay me what I’m due or face authorized motion!!!! 

Lesson Number 13:  Don’t Relax Until the Funds are in Your Bank Account

When Uber lastly obtained again to me on this, they despatched two conflicting emails.  The first stated they might credit score me for $45 assure for Friday solely.  The second yielded on all factors and stated he would credit score my account the complete $131.43 due.

But guess what?  The struggle nonetheless wasn’t over.  They solely credited me $45 on my subsequent pay assertion.   I adopted up with half a dozen emails about this, they usually lastly acquired again to me saying they might credit score my account the extra $80+ inside 24-48 hours.  Didn’t occur.  They went by means of this charade twice, every time sending me a conciliatory letter saying the funds can be deposited after which not depositing the funds.  Each time, once I tried to comply with up by e mail, I received an automatic reply saying the case was resolved and that that they had not acquired my e-mail.

Lesson Number 14:  If All Else Fails, Send the Demand Letter

Before you possibly can file a small claims lawsuit, you should ship the defendant a “demand letter” asking for cost.  The demand letter is the signal that you simply’re critical a few lawsuit.  There’s no magic formulation.  Just be sure you embrace the phrases, demand letter, the quantity requested and a cutoff date for the demand.  Within 24 hours of sending this demand letter, I lastly noticed the funds reported in my subsequent assertion.

In brief, the funds have been lastly deposited in my checking account three weeks and a number of other dozen emails later.

The Takeaway – If you need your cash due, be ready to struggle for it.  What stays unclear is whether or not this occasional wrestle to receives a commission from Uber is an intentional technique to win the conflict of attrition.  I depart that as much as conspiracy theorists.

It’s definitely believable that it’s a product of confusion introduced on by the sheer weight and quantity of customer support requests that circulate again to Uber.  That in and of itself provides Uber the duvet of believable deniability.  Yes, I’d wasted numerous time preventing for what?  I determine we exchanged near forty emails on this matter over the course of three weeks.  At that price my yield was a bit of over $three an e mail – near the driving force’s take for a minimal fare within the metropolis.  Yes, Uber’s help employees had succeeded, partially – by leaving an indelible imprint in my thoughts – and never a positive one.  But what did they achieve?  Drivers will not be paid for this type of battle.  How a lot ailing will is generated on this course of?  Difficult to know, nevertheless it positive appears to makes driving an more and more untenable proposition, financially and psychologically.

What do you assume Uber’s doing right here?  Is it confusion contained in the help workforce, or one thing extra intentional?

-John @ RSG



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John Ince

John Ince is a former Fortune reporter and Wall Street banker. He has about 1,000 rides underneath his belt driving half time for Lyft and extra lately Uber.  He’s writing a ebook about his experiences entitled:  Travels With Vanessa:  A Rideshare Driver Tries To Make Sense of It all – For a sneak peak go to: www.TravelsWithVanessa.com

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